My press conference in Iran with FM Zarif

Thank you very much, Mr Minister. Let me start by thanking you for the invitation to visit Tehran so early after the deal was reached exactly two weeks ago in Vienna, thanks to the hard work, the dedication, and the commitment of all delegations involved, all teams involved. Let me thank you for your personal commitment in this process, the personal commitment of Dr Ali Akbar Salehi, of all your negotiating team and for the support, the personal and political support that clearly was there from the President and the Supreme Leader – this is something that made the deal possible.

I think that this deal has shown very clearly that diplomacy and multilateralism do bring results, if all the parties are committed, with strong political will, with patience and with determination. I think this was good news for the entire region, for the world. Indeed now it is time to show that not only reaching the deal, but starting to work on the implementation of the deal is going to be historical. This is the first reason of my visit, two weeks after, to start the concrete work on the implementation of the deal, on all sides: on the European side we have done some steps, on the international community side, on the Iranian side. We want this deal to be historical not only in the signing of it, but also in the implementation of it. It is an agreement that is a nuclear-related agreement, but its potential is much wider, much broader than this.

It is a deal that has the potential to open a new chapter at least in four different areas. First of all for Iran and for the Iranian people: I know that around 60% of your population is under 30, I think this is an investment that your leadership is doing in the future of your country in the younger generations. Second, it is indeed the investment in new chapter in the relations between Iran and the international community, building trust, and I think the unanimous vote at the Security Council of the United Nation on the resolution endorsing the agreement is in itself something historical especially in these times.

Third, as you very well said: it is going to open – as it is implemented – a new chapter in the relations between Iran and the European Union. Let me stress what you have mentioned already: Europe and Iran are close – are close geographically, when it comes to geography, when it comes to history, when it comes to culture. Europe and Iran, we both know what it means to be the cradle of civilisations, different ones, but ones that are used to confront the legacy of our past and of our history, we know what it means to be true to our legacy and that is why today I come here with a strength of speaking on behalf of all the 28 Member States, of all the European institutions, having endorsed unanimously the agreement and having stated unanimously that we are ready not only to support the implementation of the agreement, but also to do our own part to make it real. This is the work that we have to do now – a work consistent, substantial, to start the implementation. I will keep a personal key role in this process, coordinating the work of the joint commission in the future, and I am sure we will continue to work in the same dedicated, committed and fair way that has led us to reaching the agreement, in mutual respect that comes from our history and from our mutual interest that is indeed strong.

Europe and Iran used to have very strong ties, not only culturally, geographically but also economically, on trade. On this in particular I think it is important for me personally to stress here that when sanctions will be lifted, hand in hand with the implementation of the agreement, you can expect major attention from the EU investments, business area, and this is also going to be important. But we also share a region, we ‘share’ the Middle East, the Mediterranean region from two different sides, from East and from West, somehow we are neighbourhoods. And the fourth chapter – the new chapter we can open, this agreement can lead to open – is a different framework from the region. This is probably going to be one of the most difficult chapters to be opened, but I believe that it is going to be one of the most relevant ones. If we will manage to support a different understanding of the dynamics in the region, one that is based on cooperation rather than confrontation or competition, this would lead to benefits for all in the region and beyond. And I believe that there will be an added value in a process that could hopefully find solutions to many crises around us, starting from the one in Syria and the fight against terrorism, but also others. And count on the European Union to do its part to support a different regional framework, based on hopefully the building of trust.

On bilateral issues, I cannot but underline what you have said already. This is something that is going to be important I believe also for the international and regional relations, and this is a chapter that we are very much looking forward to open, with prospective of working together on bilateral, on regional and on international issues. Let me thank you very much for, again, the leadership, the commitment, the dedication that made this possible and the willingness to work together with the same determination for the future, because the deal is not the end of the process – on the contrary, it is the beginning of the process in which we have to continue working in a very serious and determined way.

Thank you very much!